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Making Apple Wine

Getting the Fermentation Started.

Depending on quantity of wine you want to make and your choice of Wine press & Crusher (or Pulpmaster) (see the Guides: Wine Making department), you will also need fermenting equipment and consumables to turn your fruit juices into wine or cider.

You can either purchase the components separately or alternatively purchase one of our starter kits (available in 6 bottle or 30 bottle versions) that come with everything you'll need including a hedgerow wine kit. These kits offer great value over purchasing the items separately and make it even easier to get started.

Equipment Needed

Starter Kit

Includes everything you need to get started.

Individual Items

Ingredients

The easiest way is to start is to buy (depending on the quantity you wish to make) either:

These come with all the top quality ingredients you need to do your wine. There is no wastage but you can only do one fermentation. If you want to do several fermentations then you can buy the ingredients separately (or alternatively purchase a Hedgerow Wine Kit for each fermentation).

If you decide to buy individual ingredients, you will need the following:

What do the ingredients do to the wine/cider?

The following is a description of what the various components of the Hedgerow Wine Kit actually do to the wine. If you buy separate ingredients, there are subtle differences which are noted at the end, but the individual ingredients all serve the same functions as the kit components.

Pectolase
This breaks down the fruit cell walls to release the juices. It also gives improved flavour, colour and helps with clearing the wine. This is a natural enzyme and is used in all commercial wines.
Wine Yeast
Converts all the sugars into alcohol. It's important to use a genuine wine yeast strain (as is contained in the kit) as this will help to improve the flavour and allow a sufficiently high alcohol level. Cheaper bread making yeast does not make good wine.
Wine Yeast Nutrient
The nutrient in the kit is a special mix that contains all the vitamins and minerals necessary for the yeast to work at its best. Always buy a decent yeast nutrient if not using the one in our kit.
Citric Acid
This is to balance your wine with the right amount of acidity. It gives the lemony zip you want.
Stabiliser
The sachet is a mix of Sodium and Potassium Metabisulphite. The Sodium helps to stop your wine going off and the Potassium helps to prevent a secondary fermentation but won't stop the fermentation so it's important to make sure the fermentation is complete before this is added.
2 Part Wine Finings
We use three different types in the kit and these will clear the wine and will also help to remove some off flavours smoothing and maturing the wine.

All the ingredients in the Hedgerow kit have been specially selected to produce a great wine provided you use good quality fruit and follow the instructions carefully.

As mentioned earlier, there are a few differences if you buy the ingredients individually, mainly in that you need to purchase the components of the stabiliser (in the Hedgerow Kit) separately in the form of Sodium Metabisulphate and Potasium Sorbate (basically the same as Potasium Metabisulphate). We also sell 2 Part Kwik Clear finings instead of the 3 Part finings that come in the kit (there is no difference in quality).

Step by step

These instructions are for making cider or apple wine, please read thoroughly before you start. Instructions for preparing grapes for use in a wine press are available in our Making Wine from Grapes . Instructions for the preparation of all other fruits are available in our

As mentioned earlier using only apples you will need 10-15 Kilos of apples to produce 5 litres of finished cider/wine. If you don't have enough this can be supplemented with grape/apple concentrate or sugar for wine or apple concentrate/sugar for cider.

In the earlier part we look at the different ways of preparing your apples and the length of time they are left which will determine the colour and flavour you want to create. Having decided this you will now be left with the juice.

  1. Clean the bucket (30 litre for the 22.5 litre kit and 10 litre for the 4.5 litre kit) with hot water. If you have purchased a straining bag then place this over the rim of the bucket. If you haven't don't worry we will work round this later.
  2. Add the prepared grape juice which should be fairly smooth and free from all the skins and pips. Remove the straining bag complete with any bits. If you don't have straining bags use a sieve to remove the bits. Depending on how full the bucket is we might need to make some adjustments. For Wine we ideally want 23 litres and 4.5 litres of juice in the bucket (you might be short at this stage). The gravity on the hydrometer needs to be between 1078 and 1095 depending on how strong you want your wine. 1090 will typically produce a wine with 13% ABV while at 1078 you can expect 11.5% ABV. You can adjust this by adding grape concentrate (which we would recommend) or sugar. Both of these will increase the gravity. For Cider again follow the guidelines but your start gravity wants to be between 1035(5.5% ABV) and 1060(9% ABV) depending on the alcohol strength you are looking for. I am afraid I will have to leave this up to you to get right but you need to finish up with a container with 23 or 4.5 litres(depending on what size you are doing) with a gravity of between 1078 and 1095 (don't go over this as you will struggle to ferment it). The temperature of the liquid should be 19-27°C. Add the Sachet of Pectolase (or if using a tub as per the maker's guidelines). Alternatively for better extraction from the apples add the Pectolase while the apple skins are present. Leave for one hour stirring occasionally. If you are making 4.5 litres the liquid should now be transferred into a demi john (5 litre container) with bung and airlock. Similarly if you are making the larger amount you might want to transfer this to a fermenter with bung and airlock.
  3. After the hour add the Sachet of Wine Yeast (or if using a tub as per makers instructions) and stir. Leave for one hour and then add the Sachet of Yeast Nutrient (again or from the tub) and stir well. We recommend wine yeast for Cider rather than beer yeast.
  4. Leave at a temperature between 20-27°C to ferment for 10-25 days with the lid loosely fitted and if you have one the airlock in place. This should be half filled with clean water. It will help if you place the fermenting container on a surface that will allow you to siphon into another container and don't keep looking at it during the fermentation as you can introduce infections. The temperature is important and should be maintained as accurately as possible. Its better to be too cold rather than too warm and airing cupboards are a definite no no. If the temperature drops below 20°C (15-20°C) is still okay but the fermentation will take longer. We would also recommend that heat trays or brew belts are not used as additional heating aids. If you are struggling to maintain this temperature use a thermostatically controlled immersion heater. With the Cider you fermentation time will also be controlled by the initial starting gravity. The more alcohol (higher start gravity) the longer the fermentation will be.
  5. When fermentation is complete (if using a hydrometer this will show the same gravity reading for 3 days and will be in the range of 990-1000) add the contents of the Sachet of Stabiliser. If using tubs add sodium and potassium metabilsulphate as per manufacturer's instructions. Give the wine/cider a good stir this will remove the carbon dioxide gases which build up during fermentation. Keep stirring for the next 48 hours. If you are making carbonated Cider we recommend that you only add one third of this stabiliser sachet. If there is too much preservative this will not allow a secondary fermentation to take place when the Cider is in the bottles.
  6. When the gas has been removed add finings to clear the wine/cider. Sachet of Finings B should be added first to the container and stirred for 30 seconds. If you are not using the kit then we would recommend the Kwik Clear 2 part finings. Use these finings at the same time as you would add sachet A and B in this kit. After 2 hours add the Sachet of Finings A and stir for 10 seconds. Then immediately add the Sachet of Fining C and stir for 10 seconds. It is really important to add the finings as we have suggested. Delicate bonds are formed between the various fining agents and will be destroyed if these are no done in accordance with the instructions. Each fining agent only needs to be folded into the wine/cider. It is important that you do not proceed to the next step until the wine/cider is absolutely clear. Using the kit finings the wine/cider should be clear in 24 hours but can take up to 2-3 days. Other finings can take a lot longer.
  7. Once you are sure the wine/cider is clear you should siphon this into a separate container. If you have not got a siphon kit you will not find this easy. Start with the full container on a work surface and siphon down to the clean container on the floor being careful not to disturb or siphon the thick sediment which will have settled at the bottom of the container.
      You will probably need to make some adjustments to the acidity and sweetness levels. Do the sweetness levels first.
    1. Adjusting Sweetness - Taste the wine/cider and decide if it needs sweetening. Ignore all other factor like sharpness and acidity and roundness. All these will change in time. Most wines/ciders will need some form of additional sweetness so don't be afraid to do this. Add sugar or better still apple juice concentrate. Keep doing this until the wine/cider is to your taste. What the wine/cider will really taste like won't be seen until the acidity has been adjusted, and the wine/cider has had 3-4 weeks to mature.
    2. Adjusting Acidity - Taste the wine/cider now you have finished sweetening it and decide if it is sharp enough for you. If its not add about one third of the Sachet of Citric Acid. Dissolve well and leave to stand for 10 minutes before re tasting. Keep repeating until you are happy with the taste. If in doubt leave it 24 hours and then retest the wine/cider when your taste buds have had a rest.
  8. The wine/cider can now be bottled.

Bottling

Depending on how long you want to keep your wine depends on whether you use cork or plastic tops. If you are going to keep the wine for more than 3 months we recommend using corks you will need a 2 handled corking device to push these in. See Bottling Starter Pack for more information.

For Cider we recommend either Glass Beer bottles or Pet bottles. Pet bottles you will find sold with carbonated drinks like Coke and Lemonade. These are for short term storage (up to 4 weeks) but after this period of time they are no good as they don't have a lining on the inside of the bottle to protect the alcohol from oxidising. For long term (over 4 weeks) only use Pet bottles that have a lining. You can easily spot these as they are usually brown or green in colour.

If you require flat Cider then simple decant into bottles or glass containers. Glass Demi Johns are fine for this but make sure they are fitted with a suitable safety stopper.

For carbonated Cider decant into proper beer or Pet bottles which are designed to hold pressure. These should be primed with half a teaspoon of sugar per 500ml. Seal the bottles and then leave in a warm place for 3 days (this will get the secondary fermentation going which will cause the carbonation to develop), and then a cool place to clear.

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